Biology professors host students for Be Our Guest event

Be Our Guest is an annual event where Union University faculty and staff host a group of students in their homes for an evening meal together.

Due to the popularity of Be Our Guest, we are now offering the program twice each academic year. 

Be Our Guest ranks as one of the most popular events SAC organizes each year. Students have shared that they love the chance to spend time with faculty and staff outside of the classroom and learn that their lives are more than academic pursuits. SAC truly hopes to encourage faculty/staff and student interaction, which we know contributes to student growth and retention.  As Lumiere from Beauty and the Beast sings, we trust the meals prepared are delicious, but we truly hope that the fellowship is enjoyable.

The following photos are from the home of Beth and Andy Madison, who hosted seven students at their home last Tuesday. Andy Madison is a professor of biology and Beth Madison is assistant professor of science in adult and professional studies.

Photos by Kristi Woody & Riley Boggs

Building names in Heritage honor former Baptist leaders

As freshmen start their first year at Union University, most live in the freshman housing of the Heritage Residence Complex. Each of the buildings in this complex is named after a prominent figure in Union’s history. Many of these men served on the university’s Board of Trustees, and most held prominent positions in other areas of Southern Baptist life. Their names on the buildings of the Heritage Residence Complex serve as reminders of the impact they had on Union and on Baptist history.

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Craig – Robert Craig was president of Union University from 1967-1986. He was Union’s longest serving president and led the university in its move from downtown Jackson to its current location. He also served as president of Southwest Baptist University and East Texas Baptist University.

Dehoney –Wayne Dehoney was the pastor of First Baptist Church in Jackson during the 1950s and 1960s, during which time he served on the Board of Trustees at Union. He also served as president of the Southern Baptist Convention from 1965-1966.

Dodd –M. E. Dodd graduated from Union and became the pastor of First Baptist Church of Shreveport, Louisiana.  He served as president of the Southern Baptist Convention from 1934-1935 and led in the development of the Cooperative Program, the major funding initiative for Southern Baptist missions and ministries.

Grey – J. D. Grey was a graduate of Union who served for many years as pastor of First Baptist Church of New Orleans, Louisiana. He served as president of the Southern Baptist Convention from 1952-1953.

Jarman – The Jarman family was a generous benefactor of Union. They founded Genesco, a large shoe manufacturing company in Nashville, and their financial contributions helped Union relocate the campus and build the Penick Academic Complex in 1975.

Lee – R.G. Lee was the pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis from 1927-1960 and was president of the Southern Baptist Convention from 1949-1951. He served on the Board of Trustees of Union and is widely remembered for his sermons and books.

Paschall – H. Franklin Paschall was a graduate of Union who served as the pastor of First Baptist Church in Nashville, Tennessee, from 1956-1983. He also served on the Board of Trustees of Union and as president of the Southern Baptist Convention from 1967-1968.

Pollard –Ramsey Pollard was pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church from 1960-1972. He served as chairman of the Board of Trustees for Union during the time that the university bought the land for the current campus.  He also served as president of the Southern Baptist Convention from 1960-1961.

Rogers – Adrian Rogers was pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church from 1972-2005 and served on the Board of Trustees at Union.  He was a prominent leader in the Southern Baptist Convention’s conservative resurgence and served twice as president of the Southern Baptist Convention, from 1979-1980 and from 1987-1988.

Sullivan – James L. Sullivan was a pastor and denominational leader who served on the Board of Trustees for Union. From 1953-1975, he served as president of the Southern Baptist Sunday School Board (now LifeWay Christian Resources).

Wright –Frances E. Wright was a professor of education and academic dean at Union during the 1950s and 1960s and served as the university’s president from 1963-1967. He also served as the first president of Jackson State Community College.

*Former Union Vice President Bob Agee provided much of the background information for this story.

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Story by Nathan Handley, photos by Kristi Woody

Summer Music Camp

The Department of Music and the Community Music Center at Union University held their ninth annual Summer Music Camp this week. This camp for children grades 1-8 provides performance opportunities with expert clinicians, exposure to a wide variety of musical experiences, and a week of fun with friends.

All students sing in either the 1-5 grade or 6-8 grade choir, rehearsing several times during each day of camp. In addition, the younger students have a myriad of musical experiences with xylophones, handbells, piano, world drumming and beginning strings. Older students also participate in a variety of musical experiences in small groups including handbells, guitar, and technology.

Below are some photos of the many activities that camp participants enjoy throughout the week.

Honoring God Through Nursing – Student Reflection

Post by Amanda Couch, junior nursing major

Amanda Couch portraitExperiencing nursing school has taught me many things such as dedication, empathy, and faithfulness. Most importantly, I am learning to rely upon the Lord for my strength and peace, because every source other than Jesus is too easily depleted in comparison with the infinite depths of Christ’s love and grace — a fact I need reminding of every single second of every single day.

Honestly, nursing school is hard, making it tempting to complain; yet, it’s in those moments that I need God’s grace to remind me of what a blessing it is to be called to become a nurse and what a privilege it is to attend a school like Union that is dedicated to the spiritual wellbeing and professional success of its students.

Being a nurse affords the special opportunity to work one-on-one with a person who is often going through one of the worst parts of his or her life. In those moments of pain and suffering, the patient is looking for a source of assurance, pain relief, and explanation of what is going on and what is to be expected in the hours to come. It’s the nurse’s privilege to anticipate and meet these physical and psychological needs.

Yes, this may mean fulfilling the doctor’s orders for such things as medication administration or IV insertion, but it also entails meeting the seemingly “smaller” needs of patients such as simply being there for them and listening with an empathetic spirit or holding their hand during a painful procedure. For example, I still remember my first patient teaching me to place the rolling bedside table back in its original position prior to leaving the room if the table had been moved during a procedure so that he could reach his possessions. Caring could also mean offering to help tidy up the patient’s appearance before having visitors if the patient is unable to do so.

The point is to show God’s love in everything we do, remembering Christ’s words found in Matthew 25:40: “As you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” (ESV). I would challenge you to identify specific and unique ways in which you can honor Christ in your chosen profession and then purposefully work “as for the Lord and not for men” every day of your life as you live as Christ’s ambassador (Colossians 3:23, ESV).

Nursing as a Calling – Student Reflection

Post by Rachel Edgren, senior nursing major

Rachel Edgren portraitI’ve wanted to be a nurse since I was in high school. As the older sister of three and the “mom” in many of my friend groups, I always enjoyed helping others. That, coupled with my curiosity, love for people and questioning nature, made nursing a fascinating and prospective choice for a career.

In the first week or two of nursing school one of my professors told the class that if we were here to simply make money, we were in the wrong profession. That struck me as poignant because for many going into the workforce, that is in fact the priority. However, for nursing there is something else that’s the ultimate goal. Going through each class, I began to learn more and more that nursing is the holistic care of a person. This particularly delighted me since I was passionate about the overall wellness of a being, such as emotional and spiritual health, and not just physical health.

In my short time as a nursing student working in the hospital, I have seen many different patients, each struggling with different physical, mental, spiritual and emotional ailments. Some patients have been difficult to care for, but all deserve love, kindness and respect.

I believe that nursing is the type of job that requires an overflow of love from the Lord. It is only when he pours into me that I am able to love and serve others with his love — the kind of love that does not give up and will bear all things.

Nursing is not merely a profession but a calling to the care and love of others, which was modeled best by Jesus. It is through him that I have the desire, compassion and patience to work toward becoming an excellent nurse. He is the one who has been with me each step of the way, and I know that he will continue to lead and restore me as I attempt to serve others.

Nurses, I believe, can be the very hands and feet of Jesus. Now that’s a calling I want to be a part of.

Union University Players to Present Little Women Musical

The Union University Players will present a musical by Allan Knee based on the classic American novel “Little Women” March 23–28.

Read more about this production in our news release.

The following photos are from dress rehearsal earlier this week. We hope to see you in the audience! Purchase tickets online or at the door.

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Photos by Kristi Woody

Boston trip provides inside look at PR in action for communication arts students

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Post by Anna Claire Sewell, PRSSA President
Photos by Ashley Fitch Blair and Shelby Kee

As I glanced around at my peers on the flight home, I couldn’t help but think about what an awesome experience we had in Boston. As students in Union University’s communication arts department, we are presented with opportunities through our PRSSA chapter that are not only educationally enriching, but also exciting.

PRSSA, Public Relations Student Society of America, is an on-campus organization that allows students to lead and learn through the integration of knowledge and professional development. Along with a day trip to meet with communication professionals in the fall, Union’s PRSSA chapter takes a trip to a larger market during the spring semester.

During our stay in Boston, we met with communication specialists in three different areas of the field. The first morning there was freezing — actually, quite below freezing. It did not faze us! We grabbed our coffee and were excited for the day ahead.

Our first meeting was with Shawn McBride, executive vice president of sports at Ketchum Sports & Entertainment. McBride shared about his love of working in a fast-paced international PR firm and gave us advice as we enter the work force.

A few short train rides later, we found ourselves stepping into a broadcast dreamland. The communications team at WGBH Boston gave us a behind-the-scenes look at how they handle strategic communication for such a large station. Here’s the most exciting part: WGBH Boston produces one-third of the national programming on PBS. A few of the shows produced by this station include Arthur, Zoom, Antiques Roadshow, The American Experience and NOVA!

To see the amount of work put into the shows I enjoyed throughout my childhood into adulthood really put my future career into perspective. This visit showed me that while I will only be one communications specialist, my work has the potential to affect millions of people.

Our list of professional visits concluded T.K. Skenderian, director of communication for the Boston Athletic Association and its signature event, the Boston Marathon. This meeting provided us with a chance to ask questions about nonprofit work and crisis communication. Skenderian shared some powerful insights through his experience with the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing on how to carefully handle crisis communication during a tragedy. From that experience, Skenderian tied in his love for working for a cause bigger than himself.

In addition to the professional development aspect of the trip, we also spent some time checking out historical sites and taking in the local flare that Boston has to offer. From the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum visit, to the multiple cannoli consumed, to the large amounts of coffee purchased to keep us warm in the cold wind, we got a small glimpse at how Boston culture plays into the work environments in the Northeast.

When I decided to declare my major as public relations, I had no idea how many doors could be opened with a degree in the communications field. Our trip to Boston provided each member of PRSSA the chance to dive deeper into what exactly it means to be a communication professional. This Boston experience was an excellent way to top off my time at Union with peers who have become friends and professors who have become mentors.

As I picked up my bags at the airport to head back to Jackson, I left with a feeling of purpose and excitement for what is ahead for me and each of my fellow communications majors.

Meet Our Faculty – Part 2

Union University attracts some of the nation’s leading Christian intellectuals. They are dedicated to classroom teaching, mentorship, collaboration and the success of their students. Here are some faculty members we would like you to meet.


Earnest Easley

Ernest Easley – Professor of Evangelism

“We want evangelism to be in the DNA of every student that walks off this campus.”

Learn more about Ernest Easley here.

 

 

 

 


Colene Trent

Colene Trent – Assistant Professor of Economics

“We teach economics in a very specific way. We teach students to be good stewards.”

Read more about Colene Trent’s approach to teaching economics here.

 

 

 

 


Haifei Li

Haifei Li – Associate Professor of Computer Science

“It is important to me that students know not only how the software works, but how to deal with the hardware, the machines.”

Learn more about Haifei Li’s history with computer science here.

Make Yourself Make: An Art Student’s Reflection

Post by Mary Scarlett Greenway, senior art major

In January I had the amazing opportunity to study abroad in Europe with a great group of students – including fellow members of the art department. During our 11-day trip, we visited many great artistic and historical sites in Paris, Venice, Florence, Pisa and Rome.

As an art student seeking Art History credit, this was a dream. Getting to graduate on time by visiting practically the art capitals of the world seemed like cheating…and I wasn’t going to waste the opportunity. I wanted to remember every second and soak in each unique city as much as I could in such a short time.

In every city that I visited, I created a typography piece with the name of the city and held it up in front of an iconic landmark or scene (or at least, I did my best to do that – it really is hard to stop and take a picture of your journal when your leader moves at about 40 miles an hour and will leave you behind).

 

A project like this was incredibly fun and challenging – trying to capture the personality of a city in letter forms (without smudging anything on a rattling train).

In addition to my typography pieces, two other art students (Kayli Sommers and Josh Smith) and I agreed to make a conscious effort to sit down and sketch something in each city. So we did. We sketched the Arc de Triomphe, the courtyard of statues in the Louvre, Michelangelo’s statue of David in Florence, the Trevi Fountain in Rome and many others.

As an art student, the discipline of sketching things you see is often a hard one to hold yourself to – it’s at once a desire and a chore. But I cannot overstate how important and fulfilling it is to make it an instinct.

Despite all the little mistakes, I captured my experience in my journal in a way that I never could have with my camera. I remember every little side stop and place we got lost and times I almost cried (sometimes because of hunger but usually out of excitement and awe). I remember every bridge we crossed and alley we took and staircase we climbed (the stairs, the STAIRS). I remember all the shops – the little old print maker and the woman who made pigments and the aggressive leather salesmen in the streets.

Though I loved seeing every landmark and museum and cathedral, one of my favorite aspects of this trip was simply exploring the cities in our free time. My favorite city to explore was Venice by far. Never in my life have I seen such a cinematic city. Every back alley, every uneven street, every clothes line, every stretch of ivy, every hole-in-the-wall cannoli shop – they seemed so accidentally and authentically beautiful. I wanted to take all of it with me.

Hands down, I have never been on such an inspiring, exhausting, creatively stimulating trip in my life. Even if you aren’t an art student, I encourage you to draw something. Write something. Anything. Take down what you see and what you find interesting or funny or odd – no matter how trifling it seems. Don’t rely on Instagram or Facebook to keep your memories for you. Life reminds you how rare and beautiful it is when you don’t just look, but see. To my fellow art students, keep making.

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Follow Mary Scarlett on Instagram for more images of her impressive work: @mary.scarlett

 

BIO 100 Class Visits Memphis Zoo

Each winter term Mark Bolyard, professor of biology, teaches a session of BIO 100, during which students have the opportunity to go on three field trips. The first trip is to the Memphis Zoo, where the class attends two sessions taught by a zoo employee.

This year, the Spineless Wonders and Endangered Species classes were led by Union University alumna, Lindsey Bock Stephens (’11). During the first class, students learned about different species of invertebrates and had the opportunity to see and touch some live critters.  The Endangered Species class provided even more opportunities to see live animals. Students were able to see and touch the rare Louisiana pinesnake, which is part of a new breeding program at the Memphis Zoo.

In addition to the two class sessions, students were each given a endangered species to research as they toured the zoo. The trip provided an up-close look at many of the animals discussed in the BIO 100 curriculum.

Story and photos by Kristi Woody

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